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Discussion Starter #1
I just moved my betta into a 20 gallon, and I decided that I wanted a planted tank due to a constant algae issue in his previously tiny 2.5 gallon. It wasn't brown, green, or black algae. Instead it was a white, gooey algae that none of the numerous LFS could explain to me exactly what type it was. Most said that they had never even seen that type of algae. Surprise, surprise. I find most Petco and Petsmart employees uninformed with aquarium related things. I read in various places that others had the same form of algae. It was basically slimy, and his 2.5 gal was constantly cloudy because of it, and no -- it wasn't bacterial bloom.

I have a Marimo Ball in the tank, an Amazon Sword, and a Peacock Fern that I'll be removing in the morning. I just bought the PF tonight due to the misinformation from a Petco employee that it could be fully submersible. I should've read up in the store instead of on the way home about the Peacock Fern. I'll plant it in a pot tomorrow. My Amazon Sword has been in the tank for three days. Some of its outer leaves are browning. I know that I need to prune it, but I haven't found a step-by-step how to do so. Do I remove the plant from the tank and prune it, or do I clip it with scissors while inside of the tank? I put a few root tabs around it in the gravel tonight. I didn't in the beginning because a Petsmart employee said it wouldn't need anything aside from covering the roots with an inch of gravel. It has around 3-4 inches of gravel covering the roots. How many root tabs should I place in the gravel near it?

It seems that baby leaves are growing from the center of the Sword, but the longer (browning) leaves are covered in that darn white algae. I know Amazon Swords are prone to algae, but I thought the algae would be brown or green... not the familiar to me white kind of algae. I never left the lights on in the 2.5 gallon, but it still became a victim of the white algae. I've been leaving the lights on for 8-12 hours since I got the Amazon Sword. My Marimo Ball probably hates me for that because I read they like low light. I use Seachem Prime, a Marineland chlorine/metal remover, and API Stress Coat sometimes. In the past I used Seachem beneficial bacteria and Stress Zyme, but I never saw any difference. I couldn't cycle my 2.5 gallon. I tried for months. Luckily, the 2.5 gallon always read 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, yet unluckily 0 Nitrate. My betta was previously my sister's fish, and she would leave him in a .5 gallon bowl without any water changes for weeks. This fish is hardy as can be. I am so thankful she allowed me to have him so he would be in a heated and filtered tank. The 20 gallon isn't cycled, but I do daily water checks with the API Master Liquid Test Kit. I also do daily 25% water changes just in case. He's the only fish in the tank. Everything reads 0 on the liquid tests though it's only been two weeks. I really don't want the Amazon Sword to die, but I'm still unclear of to prune it in or out of the tank. Will the root tabs help it thrive? I couldn't find any liquid fertilizer. I wouldn't think it's rooted that much, but I don't want to continue disturbing things in my betta's tank to remove it for pruning. Also, where can I purchase more aquarium plants that are for beginners? I want to eliminate algae and have oxygenated water. I would also love to know where to buy more Marimo Balls that will thrive. I worry about snail eggs that could be hiding in plants, and I don't really trust Petco or Petsmart anymore since I feel very misinformed. The Amazon Sword came in a gel pot, but not a tube like most say they've purchased??? It didn't have soil, but it had gel and water around the roots. Are scissors clean enough to stick into tank water for pruning?

I apologize for the long description and for all of my questions. I'm a newb here. Any advice is appreciated so much, and I'm sorry if I didn't post this in the correct place! Thank you for reading. :)
 

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Oh never apologize for asking too many questions, it's the only proper way to learn c:.

In my opinion, maintaining a planted tank without injecting gaseous CO2 (especially if it's lightly planted) works better if the lighting period is less. I generally like an 8 hr light cycle. I find that starting new tanks with a shorter light period of 4-6 hours and then gradually increasing the time the lights are on every few days helps me better adjust the tank to find the best length of time that doesn't give me an algae farm.

If your sword plant is growing new leaves though, that's a great sign! When you buy from stores that sell them in a gel, it's normally a plant that was tissue ciltured. What that means is that they grew the plant you have from just tissue samples, out of water. So it's even more normal for most if not all of the old leaves to quickly die as they adjust to the new parameters.

I would not ever remove the sword plant from the gravel unless you must. Being mostly a root feeder their roots need to be solidly held in place and constantly uprooting them may damage the plant. I use a pair of stainless steel aquarium plant scissors but a regular scissor could work too so long as it's clean (and hasn't seen any chemical spillage) and not rusting. With my sword though, I've even just stuck my hand in the tank and pruned it by using my nails to pinch the leaves. They're hardy plants, no need to be delicate. When you do prune, just clip the outer/browning leaves close to the crown (the crown is that white to light green area above the roots, this should be at least partially visible above the gravel and not fully buried).

Many aquatic plants grow roots as primarily a form of anchor and secondarily as a nutrient uptake organ. Amazon swords are not one of those, they primarily feed from the roots. The root tabs should be enough without water column dosing.

I have discovered that snails are not a bad thing at all. Mine rarely reproduce and help me by eating all the old and dying leaves (though I've also lost a few Indian Almond leaves prematurely as well :p). If you understock your fank and neither overfeed nor leave behind food particles, snail populations will remain in check and minimal. And if you have soft water, if you don't harden it their shells corrode and I find that baby snails don't make it either. My bettas both eat snail eggs too.

I like to purchase my plants online or at a (sort of) local fish store. I've purchased many healthy plants from members here in the marketplace thread. There's also aquabid and a few other online sellers though I find most of them too expensive with shipping. I do regularly use an online store for plants but I'm completely brain farting on the name right now... A few members on here like JDAquatics sell on aquabid too, I highly recommend checking their stock.
 

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I have special scissors just for the tanks. The biggest hassle is trying to trim plants without getting someone's fin in there because of curiosity. I'm thinking of getting those tiny scissors for finger nails or nose hairs.

Even if it isn't fully rooted out, I wouldn't dig it up. The new leaves mean that it's doing something, and messing with the roots could mess up the new leaves. I'm not sure how many root tabs to use. I follow the directions on the back of mine that say "X amount per square inches on the bottom of the aquarium." I think it was somewhere along the lines of one every 3 or 4 inches.

I'm not sure about the algae. Could it be dead algae? My brown algae turns white on the heater/thermometer suction cups when it dies.

I'm glad you rescued that fish from his previous care! It always makes me sad when I can't do anything about those types of conditions.
 

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The biggest hassle is trying to trim plants without getting someone's fin in there because of curiosity.
Agreed! I have to cup one in a specimen container because he bites the scissor blades :/.

Regarding the tabs; I would say one or two about a half inch from the roots on opposite sides of the sword is generally what I do which results in about 2 inches between the two tabs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the advice! I bought new scissors, boiled them, pruned the Amazon Sword, and made a terrarium for the Peacock Fern. The Amazon Sword looks much better even though it's small now. I hope the fern survives in the terrarium.

Sadly, I have a new problem now. Last night my tank was CRYSTAL CLEAR, and now it is so clouded that I can barely see the decorations. White slim is on the fake plants practically clinging to them. White chunks are floating around in the tank! I, luckily, took a picture last night of the tank. Unfortunately, my iPad won't allow me to post the before and now pictures on here??? Any thoughts on why it won't let me???

Also, the filter has been running for two weeks. The past two days it has been "malfunctioning". That's what I thought at least. The flowing water's pressure was weak. On further inspection, the filter cartridge was caked in grime. So much so that it bloated the cartridge up to an enormous size. The packaging said to change the cartridge monthly once fish are added but never change the sponge. I changed the cartridge and it fixed the filter issue. I was in disbelief. My betta, Barney (named because of his colors), has only been in the tank for around four days. I wanted the tank to settle first, but I didn't realize I needed to add ammonia to start the cycle. I couldn't let Barney continue living in the problematic 2.5 gallon so I went ahead and put him in, knowing that I'll be doing tests and changes daily for weeks. My biggest problem is that Barney isn't a nasty fish. He barely produces waste. The filter cartridge shouldn't have been as disgusting as it was. I definitely didn't want to have to change it! I want the tank to cycle. Why would the cartridge be dirty so soon, and should I keep expecting this? Should I purchase a box of carbon and change the carbon weekly? I don't know if the dirty cartridge is what made the tank water disgusting overnight, but I doubt it. I'm stumped. When my Amazon Sword grows will it absorb the algae?

I'm freaking out because I bought this tank to solve cloud/algae problems. Not continue them in a larger size tank. I didn't even turn the lights on today.
 

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Oh man! I don't have any idea what's causing the algae. I think it was the algae causing the filter problems. I've used an algaecide made for planted tanks before, but my amazon sword started having problems right after that. I don't think the sword will do much to prevent algae. Some people claim that quick-growing floating plants (like water sprite and frogbit) will help contain algae. They do soak up nitrates directly from the water, so they don't hurt.
 

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Unfortunately I don't have much experience with algae either (not sure if that's a good thing or a sign I just play it safe too much ;;.)

I know you said it's not but are you certain that you can dismiss a bacteria bloom? I only ask because you normally see similar symptoms during fishless cycles and in tanks with an overload of bioload. I remember reading once too that feeding sugar can cause such incidents but I don't know the validity of that as I disregarded it at the time and didn't look further.

Edit: Sorry, I've had too little sleep lately and sometimes don't make sense. By feeding sugar I meant as a component of whatever food you feed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't feel it is bacterial bloom because algae is covering my Amazon Sword (which I've read they're prone to algae), algae is on my decorations, and since I replaced the filter and sucked up the root tab excess -- the water has cleared some. Not all, but some. I only have my betta in the tank. Maybe the root tabs caused some of it? I put two at the base of my Amazon Sword, but one melted all over the gravel. I had to suck it up last night. It was spreading along the bottom of the tank.

My filter is a Top Fin 20 Power filter or something. Any recommendations on different filter media to use? I can't keep using their filter media for the tank if they keep getting nasty so quickly. Also, should I get a shrimp/snail/something to clean up the algae? What cleans it up algae most effectively aside from plants? I definitely will get some floating plants for algae, but I want something that will clean gravel and decorations, but not poop enough to cloud the water or cause an ammonia spike. I'm super worried about ammonia spikes even now with just my betta because the tank hasn't cycled yet.

P.S. I'll get on my laptop tonight to try to post the pictures of the cloudiness.
 

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I'm interested to see what this white algae looks like. I've got something similar that looks like cotton on the rocks in my 20 gallon. I've just added some plants and a mystery snail and will wait to see if that makes it better or worse tomorrow morning. I've forgotten to turn the light off a couple nights and it somehow got turned back on over the long weekend (unfortunately it's at work so I can't check it daily). I'm going to pick up a light timer and see if that makes a difference.


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Discussion Starter #10
I can't really get a closeup picture of the white algae, but I'll try later. I'll have to get a good shot to be able to see it in the cloudy water. I can definitely explain about it detail, though. It's white or it could possibly be clear until it forms together more. It attaches to fake plants, live plant stems + leaves, gravel, and decorations. It sways in the water. When you touch it, it is SO slimy. It will stick to the tank's water line until it's scrubbed off. The filter gets coated in it, and it makes it slippery. I watch it get sucked up whenever I siphon the gravel. OH! I REALIZED SOMETHING! This may sound gross, but have you ever had a piece of skin in your mouth come off from your jaw or under your tongue? The white algae looks exactly like that only in large pieces.
 

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Mine looks the same too! Hopefully we can figure out how to fix the problem. Maybe my snail will fix the problem...


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Did the root tab seep up or did it get disturbed? Are you using large sized gravel only? How many inches of substrate do you have?

I personally hate cartridges in filter and I have never been able to cycle a tank with them before. Maybe I was doing something wrong but I just always felt like there wasn't enough surface area for bacteria to colonize and eventually they would clog up like yours did. I always end up customizing my media these days. I don't have any experience with that filter, I have just Aquaclear from purchased filters. I always toss the carbon aside and fill the empty space with useful media. Currently I have a fondness for bioballs:

I use the coarse sponge the filter comes with as the first step for grabbing debris, I use the ceramic media the filter comes with second (inside the white mesh bag), and then empty space is for bioballs. You can just swish the bio balls and ceramic media in tank water to release built up trapped debris/dead bacteria. I usually do ceramic media cleaning one week and then bioballs if they need it in two weeks. I find it quite convenient.

I don't recommend getting new livestock to solve an unknown problem. Especially not invertebrate which should be added in to only a stable, cycled tank. It may just cause more issues, especially if they die. My snails personally prefer to munch on weak and dying leaves instead of the period of wispy algae I always get at startups.

It really would be helpful to see an image. Even of just the tank. Cloudy water is typically an indication of bacteria. Green water is the one that's algae related.
 

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I scooped out all the white fluffy stuff I could before adding the snail and also tried feeding him a cucumber slice yesterday (he wasn't interested). I'm planning on getting algae waffles to sustain him and the shrimp I'm planning on getting until I notice algae buildup in the tank.

Unfortunately I can't get back to see my tank until Monday, the downside of having it at work. So I found a picture on the net that looks similar to my problem. This IS NOT my aquarium but what I have looks like the white fluff in the top left hand corner of the picture. Though it wasn't in such a big clump in my tank, just little wispy bits. Got a light timer so hopefully that will help if it is algae.




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Did you put the root tabs *under* the gravel?

And what products do you add and how much? Up thread you mention 3 products, but I wasn't sure if you use all 3 together or have tried them individually. Are they water conditioners and starter bacteras? Anything else you are adding?

Hope you can solve that cloudy algae problem! :)
 

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I've got flourite substrate with small gravel on top. Some small river stones, Malaysian driftwood and a big rock. All purchased from the petstore and presoaked for about five hours. I added nutrafin cycle as per instructions and left the tank run for a week and a half before adding the plants and snail.

I've been using nutrafin dechlorinator whenever I add water.

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I recently got a white "cloudy" looking fuzz growing on the rubber part of the heaters in 2 of my tanks- and only on the heaters. I wiped it off during a water change and it hasn't returned. Since it showed up where the tank was warmest I was thinking it was bacteria...which grows faster in the heat.

No advice, just an observation...maybe a piece to the puzzle.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey, everyone! I've been busy, but I have good and bad news. Good news is that my water has cleared up some. I put Ammo Carb into my filter, and I believe that has made a huge difference. Also, I've added a Temple Compacta and an Anubias that was HUGE when I bought it. I didn't realize how huge it was. I added Flourish by Seachem to the tank, and all of the plants are sprouting leaves and growing in just two days.

Now, to answer some of your questions:

I made sure the root tabs were completely underneath the plant roots and covered with gravel. The first root tab did get disturbed accidentally by my net when I was trying to scoop off the white algae. I still (for whatever reason) can't add pictures??? I did find images online of tanks that have exactly the same problem as Kay333. Kay333, that picture you posted is my algae problem. I'm glad I am not alone. It seems many people deal with this. I found theories of what this white algae could be, but I didn't find answers. Most people offered up the idea that it may be caused by sugar??? Thoughts???

I will provide links with more pictures of others issues (as well as my own) and some theories.

http://www.myaquariumclub.com/helpclear-slime-in-tank-590194.html

www.myaquariumclub.com/white-slime/algae-291897.html
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Finally! Pictures!

View attachment 648218

This was my tank before I finally finished setting it up. You can tell that my Sword had dying leaves before I pruned it. The other live plant was the Peacock Fern, and sadly once I removed it from the tank it died shortly after being in the terrarium I made for it. I had to throw it out last night. :-(

View attachment 648226

This is the tank not even 24 hours after the picture before this one. That is why I was so upset and confused about what was going on. How did it get that cloudy in such a short amount of time? Everything was hazy and slime was everywhere.

View attachment 648234

That is my betta, Barney. He has a tiny green patch of scales on his stomach. Now you know why I named him Barney. :cool:

View attachment 648242

This is my tank today. I just took the picture. I am finally satisfied with it aside from the little bit of cloudiness that you can't really see in the picture. The tank walls have a thin film over them. Any advice on how to remove the thin film? I have the Temple Compacta, Amazon Sword, and Anubias. The TC and Sword have a few inches of gravel covering them, but the Anubias has a lot of gravel on it. When I pulled it out of the water bag I realized that it was actually two plants when the bag had 1 Anubias written on it. Its roots were very long, and I didn't have enough gravel to full cover one of the roots. Do you think that'll be okay? I also have two Marimo balls in the back. I know the tank has a lot of decorations, but I only plan to keep my betta in it with maybe (in the future when the tank has cycled) some shrimp, snails, or a few Cory Cats. He is a docile betta that has lived in a community tank before when my sister had him, and he never attacked any other fish. I have bubbles going through to push some of the white algae around so my filter will suck it up. I know bettas enjoy still water, but I don't think he minds the bubbles too much now. He actually swims through them and back again as if it is a game to him.

Alright. Now for examples of the white algae in my tank!

View attachment 648250

The Sword has the white algae all over the base of it. It also has some on its leaves. I know Swords are prone to algae, but I assume that algae is green and not whatever this algae is.

View attachment 648274

This castle decoration always has the white algae on the top of it. It also is peeling some of its paint.

View attachment 648266

This fake plant gets white algae on its leaves. Look in the bottom right corner and you will see a huge chunk of it.

View attachment 648282

Today I noticed on my Sword that the outer lining of one leaf looks somewhat blue. Do you think this is just the light hitting it in an odd way, or do you think it is the beginning of Blue Green algae? When I look at the leaf from behind it is just green, but even when I turn the light off it still looks a little blue. Please, any thoughts would be great because I don't know much about Blue Green algae.

View attachment 648258

Another picture of Barney because I don't think he is harmed in any way. He has never once had fin rot since I've had him. My sister who owned him before me came over last night, and she looked at my tank. She said she didn't see much cloudiness, and that the white stuff just looks like a form of algae. I'm telling you, though, the white algae completely overtook my 2.5 gallon. I couldn't get rid of it even with 100% water changes. She also told me that she's surprised Barney is still alive because he is over a year old, and she bought him for her 4 year old niece who obviously didn't ever clean the .5 gallon bowl. Her niece's mom made my sister take Barney back. I know my sister never cleaned the bowl either because I saw the condition the bowl was in when my sister left him at my house. I love this little guy and I don't want anything to happen to him.

If this helps at all -- I use Marineland Aquarium Conditioner, Seachem Prime, Seachem Flourish, and API Stress Coat. I use all of them together whenever I do water changes aside from the API Stress Coat. I only do that sometimes. I feed him 3-4 Aqueon Betta Pellets daily. As treats I will skip the pellets once a week and give him either Tetra Bloodworms or Hikari Brine Shrimp. I suck up any left-over food, but that is rare because he is always hungry. I am sorry this was long! I just wanted to cover anything and everything that could help! :lol:
 

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@kay333
A timer definitely helps especially to maintain stability~ Do you have any other inhabitants in the tank? If it's just the snail, they do well in colder temperatures. It might be interesting to lower the temperature of the tank a couple degrees to low 70s and see if that has any effect. Like BettaSplendid said, bacteria thrives in warmer temperatures and lowering the temperature should, if it is bacteria derived, make the frequency and magnitude of the growth decrease.

Also, when you added the Nutrafin cycle, did you also supply ammonia during the week without fish?

@loveroflife
Same here, been busy. Midterms are coming up x_x'.

If you used Ammo Carb and it reduced the cloudiness, that's even more reason to suspect this as a bacterial issue rather than an algae. As of now, I would recommend increasing maintenance to frequent partial waters to see if that has more effect.

I've looked at the sugar theory but really it's all just conjecture. There's been no valid research or even knowledgeable article on the subject.

I still can't see images though :/..?

For your Anubias; they don't take well to being fully buried. Their rhizome (the large stalk between where the leaves and roots are attached to) must be above the substrate or it will rot and the plant will die. If you must bury it, it has to be like so:


Alternatively you can attach them to driftwood/decor and the roots will cling on over time just like java ferns.

Algae generally builds up over time. I really think this might be a cause of bacteria. There are different kinds of cyanobacteria and different results too.

XD Betta are supposed to like still water but I don't think anyone told that to my dt boy! He loves going under the bucket when I'm refilling but unfortunately his fins are heavy (feather tail) and the rays break when that happens so he needs to be cupped now :|. Also, I currently have some cories and you know what? Even if he's a little aggressive, I don't think there'll be any issue so long as your tank has adequate hiding spots. These little buggers are quick!

In terms of your additives, is there some reason to add 2 water conditioners each time? It's been more than 2 years since I've taken Gen Chem so I can only go by intuition but water conditioners alter the redox balance which can alter the availability of ions and electron exchange in the water if improperly mixed I would suspect. I would stick to one or the other unless you have a reason for mixing just to be on the safe side (and I suddenly wish I'd paid better attention in those 2 classes ;;!).

If it is bga, that's cyanobacteria, not a true algae (a testament to the wide range of symptoms/types of cyanobacteria). I do know Egeria Densa helps fight that though.

And no, please, details are good! If you say your plants are growing well, they may well out-compete whatever it is causing this issue be it algae or bacteria. And giving the tank time to settle (as large non-frequent water changes and 100% water changes can make bacteria issues worse) will also help resolve if it is cyanobacteria.
 

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@Dalloway My plan is to add red cherry shrimp and two small schools of tetras which is why the temp is so high. I didn't supplement ammonia when I added the cycle... I didn't think I needed to! Tested water today and ammonia was at 0.25 and nitrites were showing 0. Most of the fuzz seems to have gone away in its own... Maybe the snail or a result of the light timer? I also added another filter today as they're cheap and I'm hoping if one crashes over the weekend/holidays that the other will keep going. Hoping to add shrimp this week and perhaps three tetras


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